Friday, August 26, 2011

A Taste of Chocolate

Did you ever wonder where chocolate came from? The above fruit is from the cacao tree which is where everyone's favorite treat is hidden.  And just like coffee, creating chocolate is quite the process.
The fruit is large and grows on the trunk or strong branches. Cacao has had a difficult time in Panama.  It used to grow all over the country until a fungus invaded years ago and killed many of the trees.  Today they've discovered some ways to combat this disease and the cacao plant is making a slow return.  If left unmonitored, the cacao plant will succumb to the disease.
You open this melon looking thing up and there is a delicious tangy white fruit around a bunch of seeds. The cacao beans are what actually makes the chocolate.  Suck the fruit off and keep the beans.
It's really delicious and a favorite for locals.....and a certain Arizonan. The beans are taken out and left to ferment and dry out. This creates that wonderful chocolate flavor. Once all that happens over the course of 2 to 7 days(depending on the variety), the beans are roasted and given a shake down. Again this is all similiar to how coffee is made.
 In its pure form, chocolate is bitter.  So chocolate is ground up with sugar and other items mixed in that will sweeten up the final product.  The amount of chocolate bean used will also determine the percentage a bar of chocolate receives.  The higher percentage of cocoa/chocolate used; the higher the quality of the chocolate bar. The chocolate created here was rated at 80 percent.
As you can see, once the chocolate is ground up, it's ready to use for baking or eating:) Of course, it all depends on what you've mixed in with the beans:) Until tomorrow....


  1. This looks so good!
    Too bad for the fungus though it's good to know that there is a slow recovery.

  2. Our weather must be quite similar. We grow cocoa in this country too. And you have bottlebrush and dragonfruits!

  3. I've never actually seen the fruit of the Cacao tree. It was fascinating to see it and the white stuff inside. Interesting post.

  4. That is sooooo cool! I like the idea that around the beans is that yummy fruit. I am glad that they got control of the bad fungus. Cause I sooo love chocolate. So is it creamy when they grind it up or does it take something added to make the creaminess?

  5. Heat and a strong grinder are the key ingredients in making the nibs from the chocolate bean melt. It smelled really really good.

  6. And the white fruit is really nice....tangy flavor with...well a slimy texture. :) But it was tasty.


Thanks for stopping by!